Spring Runoff Damage in Huntsville

Fairy Lake flooding 2015
Fairy lake flooding April 23rd in the morning

Spring 2015 with unfortunately another spring of excessively high water levels in the Huntsville area.  As of today, water levels have not yet reached the disastrous levels of spring 2013 but are still rising.  The waters in Fairy Lake have risen in the area of 16″ in the last 24 hours and this has been added to a situation where our water levels were already some 16″ above normal summer levels.  What a welcome to Boston Pizza to Huntsville…fixed up the waterfront and then bam!

So why is this happening again?  There were lots or rumours regaining what human errors occurred which may have compounded the problems with significant spring runoff and the major rainfall that occurred together in April 2013 which may have combined to cause that misery.  I have heard that there is a law suit in the Lake Muskoka area over the last flood in 2013 and who may be responsible…..I doubt we will ever really truly know!  This year there was a large amount of snowfall on the ground that needed to be melted and discharged via the waterways to Georgian Bay.  Everything seemed to be going well…..long melt period with little rain….water level up over summer levels but manageable.  Then what happened?  They say Algonquin Park had to empty out via the Big East River….that happens every year….it had to empty all of it in one day!  Some rain on Monday but not nearly as much as 2013.  So what happened?  I have operated Huntsville Marine for the last 29 years….why the recurring spring problems in the last five years or so?  Did not seem to have this much of a problem with spring water for the other 24 years and I never called the insurance company.

Businesses and cottage owners on our four lake chain will be totaling the damage over the next few weeks again.  The dock people are booking expensive vacations again….are they in charge of water levels and its control….no!  In 2013 Huntsville Marine had damages due to flooding in excess of $150,000.  Thankfully we did have some insurance coverage but not near enough and we just got it all back to a great spot.  After the spring 2013 mess I decided to up our flood coverage to $250,000 with a $10,000 deductible.  Made the call this morning to our insurance company Hub Insurance, who was very fair last time and they were thrilled to hear that we will be making a claim again in 2015.  I have a meeting Monday AM with the adjuster and less than two weeks to get operational.  With 260 units to move into the water from storage in May plus 105 new pieces (very busy spring selling period a record actually)…timing is not on our side.

Choosing to be on the water as Huntsville Marine does, is a choice that provides our customers we feel with a higher level of customer service than that of a traditional dryland marine operation.  But this choice comes at a cost to our marine business in higher property taxes and waterfront maintenance costs which needs to be paid for.  Huntsville Marine could be a dryland operation at any time and we would save lots of operating costs and I expect still do quite well.  I constantly hear from boaters who no longer have a marina on their lake which then necessitates the drudgery of carrying in Jerry Cans of gas to the cottage for boat or recreational vehicle usage or loading up each time they need service.  They wish it was not so.  I was told a number of years ago that having an active marine operation on your lake chain can result in a rise in cottage values in the area of 5% in combination with the convenience.  Yes we will be fixing our waterfront again…not sure why we have to do this….yes we will be selling gas again even though we lose money each year doing so….yes we loose money selling fuel!  If you are requesting your boat out of storage please understand that we have challenges this spring in making it happen. Can someone please pull the plug on Fairy Lake and clean up the bathtub ring …we would appreciate it!  On a safety note…all this high water means lots of debris in the lakes early this spring….captains please be watchful!